Drinking Water Doesn’t Help With A Hangover

I Have Some Devastating News…

According to Patrick Schmitt (a molecular biologist), drinking water doesn’t help with a hangover!!!

“It’s a misconception that drinking water helps you avoid a hangover,” said Schmitt.

The commonly held belief that a hangover will be cured by drinking a lot of water is based upon a 1950s study that showed if you drink a lot of alcohol you will pee a lot. 

From the observation that drinking and urination are correlated, the conclusion that drinking causes dehydration was hatched.  From that observation, alcoholics concluded that alcohol-induced dehydration must be the cause of intense headaches and vomiting. 

Unfortunately, it appears that these “conclusions” were never scientifically tested nor have any basis in fact.    

Mr. Schmitt decided to test these conclusions and found them to be false. 

Instead of accepting the conventional wisdom that drinking alcohol causes dehydration and that dehydration is the cause of the infamous hangover, Mr. Schmitt found that pretty much everything underlying the assumption that drinking water helps soothe a hangover is wrong.  

As reported in Business Insider Deutschland 

…alcohol consumption doesn’t lead to dehydration, despite increased fluid excretion. “This means that the body does not lose any significant amounts of water,” said Schmitt.

“That recommendation to drink a lot of water when consuming alcohol is based on exactly this misconception,” he explained. “Since the body isn’t actually getting dehydrated, drinking water alongside alcohol has absolutely no effect on whether or not you end up with a hangover.”

Mr. Schmitt’s conclusions are confirmed by other healthcare professionals such as Cedars-Sinai hospital, which several years ago published an article on the “science of hangovers.”  According to Cedars-Sinai hospital

There’s no evidence that dehydration is the culprit [of a hangover].

What You Need To Know

There is a simple explanation for why people who drink a lot (such as beer or wine) need to urinate.  Drinking beer or wine puts a lot of liquids in your body, and if you drink a lot of any liquid, you will need to urinate.  

I have years of personal experience drinking beer and know that if I drink a lot I will be a lot. 

For example, once in London, I drank 8 pints of beer (a gallon). 

Not surprisingly, what went in came out, and I spent a lot of time in the pub bathroom. My guess is that I urinated a gallon of liquid that evening.  

But, if I drank a gallon of anything, I would spend a lot of time in the bathroom.  

According to Mr. Schmitt and Business Insider

If you think logically about it, there’s water in both wine and beer — they are drinks, after all.

Though alcohol is present in both these drinks, you’re also adding liquid to your body when you drink them. “You’re never really ‘dehydrated’. It’s not too dissimilar to the myth surrounding coffee.”

Mr. Schmitt and Business Insider addressed high-alcohol concentrated drinks as well (such as whiskey or vodka).  

Only if you drink the alcohol in a very concentrated form — in other words, if you’re throwing back shots — is the alcohol content in your stomach very high for a very short period of time.

“If you then drink a sip of water, the stomach mucosa may be slightly less affected, for a short while,” said Schmitt. “Though this hasn’t yet been investigated, we know it has no effect on a hangover itself in any case.”

So, what advice does Mr. Schmitt have for us?  

Drinking water can’t hurt, and if you drink water instead of alcohol (not in addition to alcohol), you will consume less booze and feel better in the morning.  Other than that, too much drinking will have the expected result.  

As an aside, do not take painkillers to help with the hangover while you are drunk.  It will destroy your liver.  

Mark Sunshine

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